Chef Anulesh spices up menu at Tanoa

Chef Anulesh Chetty has come a long way since his mother first got him interested in cooking in his young days in Fiji.

That interest sparked a fire within him, which later saw him take up a cooking course for nine months and to graduate and work in a Japanese restaurant in Fiji, where he learnt how to make Japanese sushi rolls and pastries.

Setting higher goals for himself as a chef, Mr. Chetty then joined the Sheraton Resort in Fiji, where he worked as a junior sous chef for eight years, and had the chance to work with master chef and TV personality, Peter Kuruvita, before joining Aggie Grey's in Samoa.

“I also worked for Sheraton Resort in Fiji for eight years as a junior sous chef, I also had the chance to work with master chef Peter Kuruvita from Sri Lanka, I then came to Samoa in 2017 Aggie Greys for three years,” he said, in an interview with the Samoa Observer. 

It has now been seven months, since he joined the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel in Apia as the executive chef, and has 24 staff who work with him. 

The new working environment has not stopped him from continuing to redefine the hotel’s menu, which he spoke about with this newspaper. Two dishes in particular come to mind — a half roast chicken topped up with sauce made from ginger, garlic and honey, and tempura fried sushi roll made up of rice, fish, cream cheese and mayonnaise. 

“My new menu I created consist of a half-roast chicken with our own sauce using ginger, garlic, honey — this is more of a favourite dish for the Samoan people, that was part of the inspiration. Another dish I made was a tempura fried sushi roll made up of rice, fish, cream cheese and mayonnaise you can do a variety of fillings but this was my own original creation.”

As for desert, Mr. Chetty used his own recipe — based on ingredients available in Samoa — to create a chocolate brownie with strawberry sauce and vanilla ice cream with lemon cheese cake. 

With competition stiff in Samoa, with many hotels and resorts offering international cuisine but with a local touch, the chef believes the menu at Tanoa Tusitala Hotel is unique and comes down to meeting the taste of their guests.

“Our food is unique because the taste is different — it's all about the taste, if people don’t like the taste they won’t eat it again. Our job requires us to be very busy and how I handle it is very simple, I just calmly cook from my heart and I always imagine that the customers are my family, so it will be like serving my own family,” he said.

Jason Strickland, who is the Pacific Islands area manager for the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel Group, told this newspaper that he is proud to have Mr Chetty on board as they will benefit from his experience. 

“I was here for almost four years in Samoa and I am very proud to have Anulesh on board, he used to work at the Sheraton and with master chef Peter Kuruvita. 

“We are also very proud to hire Pacific Islanders, rather having people from Australia and New Zealand, and Anulesh is a step to doing that. He is also training our local team who have been here for over 15 years, and as you can see he is utilizing all the local produce,” he added. 

Mr. Chetty, 40, is married to Asmita Chetty and they have two children. 

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